COVID travel requirements for African countries

Sep 24, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post was updated with new information on September 28, 2020.

The list of countries around the world that are opening back up for Americans is rapidly expanding despite the growing cases in the United States. As we’ve been reporting, several African nations have already opened for U.S. tourists including Egypt and Rwanda. Now several more are either open or in the process of reopening. Here’s what we know.

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In This Post

Democratic Republic of Congo

COVID-19 test required: No

Other restrictions: 14-day quarantine on arrival, symptom screenings

What’s open: Most businesses and parks

Virunga National Park near Goma, on November 24, 2011. (STEVE TERILL/AFP via Getty Images)
Virunga National Park near Goma, on November 24, 2011. (STEVE TERILL/AFP via Getty Images)

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo is perhaps best known for the Virunga National Park home to the mountain gorilla. The country reopened its borders in August, and most businesses and schools are now open. Unfortunately, Virunga National Park is not set to open until 2021 according to a TPG reader. (I’ve reached out to the park for confirmation).

Visitors must undergo a health screening on arrival. Americans also need a visa to visit.

It does not appear any kind of test before arrival is required.

You’ll also have to quarantine for 14 days at your hotel or home. The U.S. embassy writes, “All international passengers are required to self-quarantine for two weeks in their residence or hotel for 14 days upon arrival. Passengers in transit will be quarantined at their expense at designated facilities until they resume their travels.”

Egypt

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 96 hours before departure
  • PCR test required
  • PCR test available upon arrival

Other restrictions: None

What’s Open: All tourist sites

A mask-clad camel guide rides a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza Pyramids on July 1, 2020 (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)
A mask-clad camel guide rides a camel near the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) and Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) at the Giza Pyramids on July 1, 2020 (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP via Getty Images)

 

Related: Egypt reopening

Americans will need a tourist visa available on arrival or before arrival via online enrollment. There are no quarantine requirements though you will need a negative COVID-19 PCR test. The U.S. embassy says passengers coming from North America can have a test within 96 hours. You also have to have the physical test results. No digital documents are being accepted.

There is testing on arrival available at Hurghada (HRG), Sharm El Sheikh (SSH), Marsa Alam (RMF) and Taba (TCP) airports. Those tests are $30, but that’s cheaper than in much of the U.S.

No quarantine is required for Americans.

Kenya

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 96 hours of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: Businesses are open, but curfews are enforced

Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)
Nairobi National Park, Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

 

Kenya has now reopened and Americans are allowed to enter. All visitors need a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of arrival. They’ll also face a health screening on arrival. Quarantine orders have been lifted.

According to the U.S. embassy, there is a curfew, “Nightly curfew hours are from 9:00 pm to 4:00 am.”

Kenya requires foreign visitors to fill out forms here.

The State Department has a “level-3” advisory to “reconsider travel,” because of coronavirus.

Namibia

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 72 hours before departure
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Registration with the government, symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: Most tourist camps, facilities

Baby Desert Elephant at Watering Hole in Kunene Region of Namibia. (Photo by Cat Gennaro - Getty Images.)
Baby Desert Elephant at Watering Hole in Kunene Region of Namibia. (Photo by Cat Gennaro – Getty Images.)

Namibia reopened its international borders on Sept 1. All arriving tourists have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

Related: A safari in Namibia

Arriving visitors also have to stay at their first lodging for a period of one week. It has to be a government-approved hotel or camp, and arrivals must be registered with the government.

Tanzania

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • 72 hours before departure
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: All businesses and attractions

A plane takes off behind a clock tower in Zanzibar, Tanzania on August 27, 2018. Zanzibar meaning "land of the blacks" was established by Iranian immigrants. In history the Island was ruled by Portuguese, Omani and the British. Zanzibar Island carries the traces of African, Arabic, Indian and European civilisations with its culture and architecture. It's a remarkable trade point as having links to an important sea. It is also known to host Sultanate of Zanzibar. Fishers in Zanzibar go off Indian Ocean as many provide their livings from fishing. (Photo by Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A plane takes off behind a clock tower in Zanzibar, Tanzania on August 27, 2018. (Photo by Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

 

Tanzania was among the first African nations to reopen to tourism. At first, tourists only had to undergo a health screening, but now all incoming travelers need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. There is no quarantine required according to the U.S. embassy.

Many tourists are required to have a visa.

Related: Dreaming of Tanzania

There is no curfew, and no quarantine is required.

Zambia

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 14 days of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Symptom screening on arrival

What’s open: All tourist sites, some businesses may keep limited hours

LUSAKA, Feb. 27, 2019 -- A tourist takes photos of the Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Feb. 25, 2019. The Victoria Falls has reached its peak season for tourism. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
A tourist takes photos of the Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Feb. 25, 2019. The Victoria Falls has reached its peak season for tourism. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)

 

Zambia is open to international travelers. The country is known as one of the top safari destinations in Africa and includes Victoria Falls.

Zambia now requires proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within two weeks of arrival. There are health screenings on arrival, and symptomatic visitors will be tested on arrival.

Travelers need a passport and a visa. The U.S. embassy suggests Americans are also now required to quarantine. You can apply for an e-visa online.

President Edgar Lungu said on September 11, 2020, that bars and schools would begin reopening with limited hours.

Keep in mind the U.S. State Department has a “level-3” advisory saying Americans should “reconsider travel,” but no outright ban.

Zimbabwe 

COVID-19 test required: Yes

  • Within 48 hours of arrival
  • PCR test required

Other restrictions: Possible quarantine or other screenings on arrival, details TBD

What’s open: All businesses and attractions

Seaplane flying over the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe. (Photo by De Agostini Editorial/Getty)
Seaplane flying over the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe. (Photo by De Agostini Editorial/Getty)

Zimbabwe Tourism confirmed that all tourist activities have resumed as of September, and Reuters reports that the country will begin accepting international flights on October 1. In a statement, the government said, “All travelers will be required to have a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID-19 clearance certificate issued by a recognized facility within 48 hours from the date of departure.”

The country had been asking all arriving passengers to self-quarantine for 21 days though that request is expected to be lifted once the international border reopens.

The Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu told media outlets the country was also now allowing all attractions and businesses to reopen including the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Featured image in Maasai Mara National Reserve , Kenya by Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

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